I follow some message boards/online support groups for miscarriage and now pregnancy after loss. While I love and am grateful to be able to have a form of community in this way, sometimes scrolling through or reading too many posts causes more anxiety than calm or reassurance.
I see women like me, who have endured such great loss and are still trying to move forward posting about their experiences, asking questions of each other, providing responses to others. And in so many ways this is so good. But it’s also often really difficult to hear about the ways these women lost their babies, their infants. It makes me more afraid of all the other ways trying to bring a child in the world can go wrong. It makes me sad for these women who have already lost but who may still be losing. A woman who posts about a new pregnancy, and then posts days later about how she had another loss. Another woman who posts about how crappy her family has been in supporting her grief and processing. Many of the posts will warn others that what they have to say may be a trigger to others, they try to spare people of this if those people so choose. They have something to say, but they are compassionate and empathetic. So many stories. And I am grateful for them, their courage to open themselves up to this outlet, to share, to reach out for someone else’s hand, and I certainly wouldn’t ever want them to stop.
Sometimes though, I have to make myself walk away for awhile. Everything I read, the good and devastating, is so relevant, and hits so close to home. Which is most likely the case for most of the women there, and the reason behind the trigger warnings. I get anxious enough on my own, and sometimes too much of what is also relevant to me is not a good thing, at least not at once. So I need to take a break.
I think it’s the same with the news, for example. Watching and hearing about all the awful things that are happening around the world, the fear, the devastation, the carnage — you can get overwhelmed with all of that, too. And you just need to watch a video about puppies, or a whale being saved from a fishing net.
I think the point is to keep a balance, which is easier said than done, of course. But it’s important. Taking some space from the message boards and going for a walk, or baking, or going swimming, and feeding my mind with those things. I think it lets me hit refresh.
And both things, the relevance of the loss community and the refresh of an activity beyond that, helps me to keep moving forward without making any part of my story become any less.